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Reception and Artefacts in the Making of Late Eighteenth-Century Visual Culture: The Cultural Biography of Sir William Hamilton’s Vases

KALKANIS, EMMANOUIL (2012) Reception and Artefacts in the Making of Late Eighteenth-Century Visual Culture: The Cultural Biography of Sir William Hamilton’s Vases. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This doctoral thesis examines the cultural biographies of Sir William Hamilton’s collections of ancient Greek vases, including the ways in which meanings and values were attributed to them. More specifically, this thesis compares various practices of recording, copying and appropriating objects from these collections, and in so doing discusses the various ways of interpreting them. By reproducing a specific repertoire of images from a variety of popular media, it aims to rediscover a late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century way of viewing, receiving and appreciating classical art. These media (e.g. engraved antiquarian catalogues, paintings, drawings, sketches and selected forms of craftsmanship such as Wedgwood’s pottery and Sir John Soane’s cork models) appropriated and fabricated antique culture in the form of figured vases. In other words, this thesis considers the effect of various aesthetic changes and artistic choices on the production and distribution of images that were taken from Hamilton’s vases during the decades around 1800.

My central argument is that the visual reproduction of Hamilton’s vases was a pervasive and essential constituent of the contemporary pursuit of art and literature, rather than an accidental aesthetic result of their physical presence alongside one another in art and antiquarian publications of the time. I also show that the reception of the painted vases that Hamilton collected when he was resident in Naples (1764–1800) was the product of a long and complex relationship between the antiquarian tradition and socio-cultural discourses over the practices of collecting and exhibiting taste before and after 1800.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Greek vases; Sir William Hamilton; Reception; Eighteenth Century; Artefact Biography; Visual Culture; Classical Archaeology; Artistic Practice; Scholarship; Paintings; Drawings; Iconography
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Nov 2012 11:08

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